Medical sales reps are famous for the perks of their job. There is almost a mythology built around the benefits they receive. Of course, while medical sales reps enjoy some great perks, it isn’t the lifestyle that those outside the industry might imagine. In recent years, the benefits that reps have enjoyed are not what they used to be due to industry scrutiny, dwindling budgets and other factors.
However, compensating your sales force is more than just company cars and free lunches. Companies only need to be creative and empathetic to the needs of their employees. Medical sales reps want more than financial perks, but are looking for a supportive company culture and a healthy work-life balance.
In our recent 2014 Medical Sales Salary Report, MedReps took a poll to determine which benefits were most common amongst medical sales reps.
Insurance and a 401k are standard in any field. However, when we get into expense accounts and gas cards, we start to see the real perks of a medical sales position. Profit sharing, while not common, is a great motivational benefit to offer sales reps, especially your top sales people and those in higher positions.
This is a snapshot of what your current and future sales talent will expect from their employer, and should serve as your starting point. In addition to these perks, however, there are many soft benefits that sales reps are looking for to enrich their lives and support their ambitions.
While medical sales reps are often given free reign to set their own schedule, that hardly means kicking back and taking it easy. They are usually on the road or working long hours to ensure they meet their sales goals. With that said, while they are succeeding in their professional lives, their personal lives may falter. Without a proper work-life balance, they could begin to suffer burnout.
Size can be one predictor of a company’s work-life balance. In our survey of best places to work, 48% of medical sales reps said that they are looking for a job at a medium-size company, with another 11% saying they would like to work for a small company. But there’s much more to the equation. While smaller companies may offer more schedule flexibility and autonomy, they often can’t compete when it comes to hard perks like the ones listed above.
Our best place to work of 2014, Medtronic, offers the best of both worlds, with great benefits as well as a fair work-life balance. As one employee described it, “…a big corporation with a small business feeling”. Others described the work-life balance at the company as second to none.
The best companies, no matter their size, understand that their medical sales reps need the support of their employers beyond the standard benefits. Companies must be dedicated to the mental and physical health of their sales forces. In turn, their sales forces will be more dedicated to the company and more enthusiastic about their work.
It goes without question that someone as ambitious as a medical sales rep will be constantly looking for ways to build their career. With 35% of sales reps casually looking for their next opportunity, it’s no surprise that many believe the best opportunity to move up the ladder lies in moving on to a new employer.
A sales job can seem like an endless cycle of going for the hard sale day in and day out. While the pay is great, people want to feel like their hard work is actually getting them somewhere. They want opportunities to move a better or larger territory, move across the country, or move up functionally or vertically within the company.
Our research has found that one of the top benefits that medical sales people want from their job is the belief that they are making a difference. A good salesperson wants to feel like they are doing more than moving units, but selling a product that is improving people’s lives. They also want to believe that their company has an impressive product offering and is continuing to be relevant and innovative in its respective industry.
If a salesperson feels as if their company’s product offering is less than genuine or is falling behind the times, they may not stay long. In fact, they may already be on their way out the door.
A More Grounded Approach
From expense accounts to company cars, medical sales reps are often viewed as living the high life. However, the perks that many outside the industry find enviable are often a necessary part of a rep doing their job to the best of their ability. Companies will need to look beyond their checkbooks and gifts to provide other, more human-focused perks and benefits to help support their sales staff.
This will not only help companies attract and retain talent, but ensure their medical sales reps feel like more than just a cog in the wheel, but part of an organization that values them as a person and their work.